Pope: It's Time to Remember the Beauty of Faith – Year of Faith in 2012 / 2013
Benedict XVI says it is time to remember the beauty and centrality of the faith, to go deeper into it and strengthen it, and for this purpose he has convoked a "Year of Faith." The Pope announced the special year, which will begin on 11 October 2012 -- the half-century of Vatican II's first day -- and wrap up on 24 November 2013, the feast of Christ the King. The 13-month celebration "will be a moment of grace and challenge for our ever fuller conversion to God," Benedict added, "to strengthen our faith in him and announce him with joy to the people of our time."
The Holy Father suggested that the Year of Faith will be not so much a celebration as a missionary event: a chance to "remember the beauty and the centrality of the faith, the need to strengthen and deepen it, both at the personal and the community level, and to do this in a perspective that is not so much celebratory, but rather, missionary -- precisely in the perspective of the mission ad gentes and the new evangelization."
He spoke of how John Paul II promoted these two elements of mission -- both to those communities in which the Gospel has not taken root, and to those in which people have lost their zeal for the Gospel. "These are aspects of the one mission of the Church," the German Pontiff said. On Saturday, the Pope outlined a hopeful vision of evangelization, saying that "the Word of God continues growing and spreading." He offered three reasons for this growth:
"The first is that the strength of the Word does not depend, in the first place, on our action, on our means, on our 'doing,' but on God, who hides his power under the signs of weakness. (...) We must always believe in the humble power of the Word of God and allow God to act!
"The second reason is that the seed of the Word, as the Gospel parable of the Sower narrates, falls also today on good soil that receives it and produces fruit. (...) In the world, although evil makes much noise, good ground continues to exist.
"The third reason is that the proclamation of the Gospel has effectively reached the ends of the earth; even in the midst of indifference, incomprehension and persecution, many continue, yet today, with courage, opening the heart and mind to receive the invitation of Christ to encounter him and become his disciples. Though not making noise, they are as the grain of mustard that becomes a tree, the leaven that ferments the dough, the grain of wheat that is destroyed to create the ear."
On Sunday, drawing from the Second Reading, from the Letter to the Thessalonians, the Holy Father noted some of the characteristics of Paul's evangelization. "He says to us first of all that one does not evangelize in an isolated way," the Pope said. "And he immediately adds another very important thing: that the proclamation must always be preceded, accompanied and followed by prayer. (...)
“The Apostle Paul leaves us a very beautiful teaching, taken from his experience. He writes: ‘for our Gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.’ To be effective, evangelization needs the strength of the Spirit, to animate the proclamation and infuse in the one who bears it that ‘full conviction’ of which the Apostle speaks.” You can watch a 3 minute CNS video Year of Faith (http://tiny.cc/z6gno)
Full text of Saturday's discourse: www.zenit.org/article-33672?l=english
Full text of the Sunday homily: www.zenit.org/article-33673?l=english
Full text of the Angelus address: www.zenit.org/article-33676?l=englis
(The preceding article was taken from CL weekly, 2011-10-24, a publication of NCCL.org)